LODI, N.J. — Buffie Galifi of Lodi has a great mom, but she needed and found another motherly influence in her life: Sharyn Bauer of Hackensack.
The two were linked by Mentoring Moms, a program of the Hackensack-based Bergen Volunteer Center.
It makes 45-55 such matches a year.
“I’m an only child. My husband is an only child,” said Galifi, 45, a mother of three boys. “My mother doesn’t understand the shoes that I walk in with three children.”
In her youth, Galifi said, she was a “true girly girl” who played with dolls and toy bake ovens.
Now here she is with three boys, running from soccer to football to Boy Scouts to PTO.
Galifi’s best friend doesn’t have children. Plus, she’s not comfortable confiding in other parents at her boys’ schools.
“I needed a sounding board,” said Galifi, “and I found one in Sharyn.”
Bauer is also the mother of three. But they’re 43, 40, and 36 years old. She’s also a grandmother.
She’s been where Galifi is now. The two of them, terrific texters, communicate a lot. Galifi will write what’s happening and ask her second mom: “Am I overreacting, or is that just not right?”
Back comes a reply steeped in motherly concern and lots of life experience.
“My children are independent,” Bauer said. “They don’t ask me for that much advice. They’re more interested in baby-sitting help.
“I feel a little more needed now,” she added. “Buffie takes my suggestions much more graciously than my kids do.”
All her life, she’s given back in different ways, she said. For this time in her life, being a maternal mentor is the perfect way.
For Galifi, Bauer is pure inspiration.
“I can truly know I’m going to get past some situation,” she said. “I have an example right in front of me.”
Galifi enjoys other aspects of Mentoring Moms, too — the monthly Chat ’n Chew meetings where they share confidences and exchange information and resources, the breakfast with Santa, the Mother’s Day brunch, the field trips with the kids.
The best part, according to Galifi, is that there’s never any judgment among the mothers, and it doesn’t matter one whit what town you live in. Everything is acceptable.
“Whatever you lay on the table, stays on the table,” she said. “It stays between us.”
Cindy Andrake, program director for the center, said the program supports struggling mothers so they’re in a better state of mind to deal with their life challenges.
Registration is now open for Mentoring Moms Fall Training, which starts 7-9:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the Bergen Volunteer Center, 64 Passaic St., Hackensack.
To learn more, call 201-489-9454, ext. 211.
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